There's a sickening feeling of deja vu for Hawkesbury residents as they rise this morning to meet a day where once again their lives and livelihoods are in the hands of mother nature.
Over night the rising floodwaters did as predicted, knocking out access to all three major bridges - North Richmond, Windsor and Yarramundi - and continued to rise.
North Richmond was the first to close, at 4.36pm, followed by Yarramundi at 8.21pm and then finally Windsor Bridge, at 9.52pm.
At 1.30am this morning the SES warned that based on weather predictions from the Bureau of Meteorology, the Hawkesbury River at Windsor (WPS) was likely to exceed the major flood level of 12.20m this morning and may peak at 14m throughout the day.
It suggested further rises may be possible.
At the time of press, the current level stands at 10.40m and is listed as steady; at North Richmond it is at 12.88m and rising.
"Recent rainfall over the Nepean and Hawkesbury River catchments has resulted in rapid river level rises and major flooding along the Nepean River," the alert stated.
"Along the Hawkesbury and Lower Nepean Rivers Major flooding is occurring at North Richmond. Moderate flooding is occurring at Penrith, with further rises to the major flood level possible. Major flooding is expected at Windsor and downstream from Thursday based on forecast rainfall.
"Further heavy rainfall is forecast over the next 24 to 48 hours which may result in rapid river level rises and localised flash flooding."
It was less than a year ago that the Hawkesbury was struck by catastrophic flooding, and as was the case then, many residents were hit last night with orders to evacuate their homes.
And again, just like last year, evacuation centres were opened at the Richmond Club and Meroo Christian Centre in Kurrajong.
Macquarie MP Susan Templeman was among those at Richmond Club helping to set up temporary accommodation for those displaced.
In a post to her Facebook page showing photographs of the team inflating mattresses, which included members of Hawkesbury's Helping Hands, she wrote: "These guys made a midnight dash to help get bedding (and snacks) to evacuees facing a long and worrisome night away from home at the Richmond Club. And there was even food for the dogs. Thanks for answering the call for help."
Many schools around the Hawkesbury are closed today. For the latest details visit education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/school-safety.
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